Well, that was … you know what, I’ll start from the beginning.
A couple of days ago I thought I was having a heart attack. I can’t say I was overly concerned since I figured it was probably like a stitch and I could just ‘run it off’. However as the pain got worse and worse and began to restrict my breathing, I was wondering if maybe it was something a little more serious. I don’t really like to bother the NHS, so I just left it to see what would happen – an interesting experience when you can’t lift your arms and breathe at the same time – and eventually the pain settled in my spine.
I think I’ve just pulled a muscle in my back, but it’s right over the spine and is pretty painful. Painful enough to be distorting my posture, pulling my hips over to the left and causing my right shoulder to dip alarmingly. If I want to keep my head upright, I have to move it towards my left shoulder – which causes more pain. If I want to keep it in line with my spine, I have look like I’ve got my head tilted to the right – kind of like George Clooney’s floppy neck, but without the looks, money or charm.
If you’ve ever tried walking with your shoulders tilted, your head at an angle and your hips thrown the opposite way, you’ll know two things:
- It’s impossible to walk in a straight line.
- You end up limping along like a demented scientist’s assistant.
So it came to pass I left home at 10.45 yesterday morning looking like an ginger Quasimodo on his way to fetch the marster a new brain.
All well and good and a lovely time was had by all. Or at least me, anyway. I wouldn’t like to speak for anyone else.
In the evening I made my way to Notting Hill Gate for the pre-screening drinks with the cast and crew of The Wrong Door.
Not wanting to repeat the same mistakes I made last time, I decided I was going to storm into the pub and hurl myself at the first person who looked like they might have something to do with the show.
Steadfastly I marched up to the pub, straight past it and into Starbucks for a quick cuppa.
No sense rushing into things.
One refreshing cup of tea later and I’m ready to mingle like a fury.
How the hell am I going to recognise these people among the normal pub crowd? Don’t know, don’t care – just get in and get on with it.
I barrel into the pub and am a bit surprised to instantly stumble on a table full of people chatting over a sign which says RESERVED FOR THE BBC. So surprised in fact that I whizz straight past the table without stopping; but that’s okay because it gives me the opportunity to grab a drink and peruse the layout at my leisure.
There are a row of tables reserved for the BBC, the first one is full of people who are in full conversational flow – they seem to be having fun and I don’t really want to interrupt them.
The second table however has one solitary occupant and she’s my target. Brilliant! I can get chatting to her and she can introduce me to someone else and before you know it I’m in a proper conversation.
“Hi I’m Phill, I’m one of the writers.”
“Hi I’m (didn’t catch the name), I’m the wife of one of the supporting artists.”
Then, presumably in response to my blank look:
“One of the extras.”
She doesn’t know anyone here either. Still, she was a nice lady so we chatted for a half hour or so before Chris Taylor arrived and I finally had someone in the room I knew well enough to chat to. Not only is Chris the man who got me the Wrong Door job in the first place, but we also co-wrote LVJ together. I’ve known him for years and better still, he knows everyone on the production team.
Chris introduces me to a lot of people, explaining which sketches I wrote and everyone is very complimentary and friendly. The two hours leading up to the screening goes very quickly and, apart from squinting at everyone through lopsided pain, I really enjoyed myself.
Then we decamped to the cinema, which was a lovely old building with a proper old-fashioned auditorium with loads of leg room and what I first took to be a really impressive sub-woofer until I realised it was probably just a passing tube train.
They showed us the first two episodes of The Wrong Door and it’s absolutely fucking excellent.
It’s hilarious, there’s nothing else to say.
And I’m not even talking about my sketches, of which there was one fairly long one in each episode, but the show as a whole is just brilliant. I found it very difficult to judge whether my sketches were funny or not, but people laughed so I guess they must be. I was sitting next to Thom Tuck who played one of my characters who said it was one of the most depraved and demeaning things he ever had to do.
Which I consider a personal achievement.
On the way out, I bumped into the principle cast of my sketches and decided to introduce myself to Neil Fox who plays, um, Doctor Fox:
“Hi, I’m Phill Barron, I wrote the sketches you did.”
“Oh hi, they were great.”
“No, you were great.”
Then we kind of ran out things to say to each other. This would have been a good point to wander off, but unfortunately someone was blocking the door and chatting so we stood there in fairly awkward silence for a good minute or so.
Which is quite a long time to not say anything to anyone. Try it. Approach random strangers, introduce yourself and then don’t say anything for a minute. See how you get on.
Outside I nearly had the same problem – there were about 170 people there, we all spilled onto the pavement together and I momentarily lost sight of everyone I’d been introduced to. Luckily, before I inflicted myself on anyone else I was spotted by the lovely Sarah Morgan and her equally lovely boyfriend, Tim. Sarah’s one of the Wrong Door writers who reads this blog and recognised me from my photo, despite me not being black and white in real life.
We all decamped to a nearby bar where I had a good chat with Sarah and Tim. Well, I say a good chat; but it was more like a good shout with a lot of ‘eh?’ and ‘what?’ thrown in as we were competing with a DJ who refused to turn the music down. There was no one in this bar except for us lot, but he wasn’t having any of it.
“People want banging tunes, innit?”
“No, people want you to shut the fuck up.”
But he didn’t.
The rest of the night flew by and I actually managed to get a decent chat with the producer and head of the New Comedy Unit, Jack Cheshire, without falling asleep or staring blankly at him. He’s a really nice guy and we had a decent chat about the show and other stuff. I even managed to pitch two projects to him – sort of. I just mentioned some stuff and he asked to read them, which has got to be a good thing.
Although, perhaps I shouldn’t have told him I couldn’t send them to him because they were shit?
Yes, now I come to think of it, that was probably the wrong thing to do.
Overall, I had a great night. So good in fact that I missed the last train to Eastbourne and arrived at Victoria hoping against hope there was an inexplicable extra train at two in the morning.
Or at least I don’t think there was, someone had helpfully stolen the ‘E’ page from the timetable; but as far as I could tell the next train was at five-thirty in the morning.
I felt and still feel pretty awful about this. I didn’t really want to leave Mandy with the baby all night and feel like a very bad daddy.
Yes you are, you fucking wanker.
Sorry, that was Mandy. Can’t argue with that.
Luckily for me, not so much for Mandy or Alice, Chris stepped in and offered me a bed at his place and I finally rolled home at 10.45 this morning – 24 hours after I left.
I really am, very sorry.
Not fucking good enough.
So anyway, I had a great night, met some nice people and hardly embarrassed myself at all. I even managed to steal one of the production team’s T-shirts:
Technically, this belongs to Robin Hill, so if you want it back Rob, let me know.
And the best part of the night for me? Not one person noticed my lopsidedness – or if they did, they were polite enough not to comment.